Thursday, February 22, 2024

February Nostalgia Post

"Natsukashii" in Japanese means nostalgia, mostly of the positive sort. Now, I'm not normally one for living in the past*, but every so often, when I have nothing else to blog about I'm feeling wistful during the waning days of winter**, I like to look back at what I was doing during the same time in prior years. Join me for the journey, won't you?
(pictured above: lucky penny from February 2022)

February 23, 2023
Wow, I was still working on Volume Seven? Feels like that book has already been out for a long time now. Maybe that's what happens when you switch from writing to filmmaking? Or, you know, time warp. Yeah, probably time warp.

February 24, 2022
I guess Brews Brothers and As We See It weren't picked up for additional seasons? That's too bad, I liked those shows.

February 25, 2021
You know, I tried, but I just couldn't get into One Piece. Gasp, I know, right?

February 20, 2020
I love this part: "the band and I are making plans to start livestreaming portions of our Sunday afternoon practices on Facebook." Ha! Ha ha ha!

Okay, that's good enough.

* The past, present, and future are all the same, anyway. Time is an illusion

** Alliteration score: 7/10

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Random Cat Picture Placeholder Post

This is a cat hiding under a sweater jacket.
"Heh, heh! They'll never find me under here!"

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Hold My Beer Update

Time for another Hold My Beer update!
The latest news is that our workprint (basically, a rough draft of the film) is just about complete. All the raw footage has been shot, and post-production (editing, etc.) should be done by next week. It's not great, mind you, and no one but our cast and crew will ever see it (unless we decide to include snippets of it in the eventual "making of" video), but it was a great rehearsal for the real deal, and we learned a lot by doing it (brief moments here and there are actually, believe it or not, pretty darn good).

Next up: a crew-only meeting to help us get on the same page, and then *gasp* actual filming begins in March!

Stay tuned for more updates...

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Most Exclusive Restaurants in Science Fiction

I recently finished watching Fermat's Cuisine on Netflix, the latest in a long line of Japanese live-action dramedies that I've been consuming (mostly all from TBS; keep them coming, Netflix). It was about a young math prodigy who, upon discovering that he isn't the best mathematician in the country, makes an unintended pivot to becoming a chef, where his math skills come in handy in the kitchen, like with creating recipes and such.
He's discovered by the head chef at an exclusive French-Asian cuisine restaurant, who then begins grooming him to become his eventual successor. Now, I'm no hardcore foodie, but I am a fan of these kinds of story settings, as I've always had a sort of fascination with food service culture, despite never having worked in the industry myself (I have watched Food Wars and Iron Chef, however. I've also tried to get into The Bear, but for some reason Hulu kicks me out of the show every few minutes or so, so I got frustrated and gave up after grinding my way through the first episode, which I really liked despite the interruptions. It's weird, because I can watch other Hulu programming with no issues. What, Hulu, is your award-winning crown jewel too exclusive for me?) (see what I did there)

Anyway, this got me thinking about other fictional exclusive restaurants, mainly in science fiction. Here are the top three that came to mind (warning: mild spoilers):

1. Milliways

Or, as it's otherwise known, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, from Douglas Adams' The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the second book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy." Despite being a popular five-star eatery, you can actually get a table quite easily via time travel.

2. Unnamed Restaurant on Darillium

From the Doctor Who episode The Husbands of River Song, this place has a four-year waiting list that the Doctor circumvented by using - what else - time travel. I'm guessing it was inspired by Milliways. The balcony seating has a great view of the Singing Towers of Darillium (pictured above), where one night lasts 24 years. That's a lot of desserts.

3. Trilligan's

From Joel Suzuki, Volume Seven: Vision of the Virtuoso, this is a restaurant so exclusive, the wife of the most powerful being in the multiverse still has to make a reservation. I swear the use of double-Ls in the name (like "Milliways" or "Darillium") is a coincidence. Or maybe something subliminal. Anyway, their specialty is sauteed space slug. Delicious.

Are there any that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Table Read For Hold My Beer

The table read for Hold My Beer was a great success!
Huge thanks and shout-outs go to our amazing cast and crew: Andrew York, Ian Engelsman, Ethan Blackwelder, Lydia Pearl Pentz, Rich Ray, Karen Krejcha, Kevin Coy, Eric Holmes, Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Jennie Greb (in absentia), Karen York, Heidi Blackwelder, John Krejcha, Torin Tashima, Ryan Krejcha, Justine Krejcha, Elizabeth Holmes, Andy Lockhart, and Beth Harrington. The guys in SPS and I are so happy and grateful to be working with such a talented bunch of people.

Thanks also to Stephen's Place for hosting us, Autism Empowerment for the food and co-production, and, of course, the Vancouver Culture, Arts, and Heritage Commission for the generous grant that is helping to make this project possible.

More to come!

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Find Princess Zelda: Complete

After eight months and what were probably hundreds of gameplay hours, I finally finished Tears of the Kingdom. Or, at least, the main story quest part of it (along with a whole bunch of side quests and adventures that I completed along the way).
The funny part is that, while I feel the usual sense of accomplishment, I also feel a little lost, like my purpose in life is now gone. Over the past eight months, I'd reserved a couple of hours here and there on weekend afternoons to play the game, and those hours felt like a welcome and relaxing escape (even though fighting Lynels or puzzling through difficult shrines were anything but relaxing). Yes, I have Hogwarts: Legacy now, having received it as a welcome Christmas present, but while it's fun, there's simply nothing - to me, anyway - like a Zelda game.

WARNING: Major spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom to follow after the jump

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Anime-Ish Roundup: Blue Eye Samurai

As you know if you've been following this blog, when it comes to Anime Roundup posts, I typically don't devote an entire post to a single show (unless that show is Attack on Titan). And I especially don't devote an entire post to a show that is animated and Asian-inspired but is technically not anime (a separate and extensive discussion that I may have touched on before but is not the subject of this post)*.

But then, I watched Netflix's Blue Eye Samurai.
Holy cow.

Netflix recommended it to me (with a "98% match") when it first came out in November, but at the time, I was heavily into light-hearted, live-action Japanese dramedies and not really in the mood for what looked like a pretty serious and potentially downbeat period drama. But as the weeks progressed, I began to see more and more recommendations for it pop up here and there, until finally I decided to give it a try.

And boy, am I glad I did.

If you haven't already watched it (go ahead and do that now, I'll wait), its basic story premise centers on a half-Japanese woman samurai in Edo-period Japan in search of revenge. But, like the aforementioned Attack on Titan, it is sooo much more than that. I won't get too deep into details or review-type comments (although some spoilers will follow) as you can find plenty of that elsewhere on the internet, but instead I will just bullet-point list a few things I wanted to express:

- I noticed a lot of similarities between this show and Glorified, the manga-style comic book series written and published by me and the guys in Second Player Score. They both feature a strong female protagonist, who is an excellent fighter capable of killing multiple opponents at once, on a single-minded quest; a sidekick-type character who wants to join up with the protagonist but is initially rebuffed, only to be reluctantly welcomed later; plot twists and questions about the protagonist's history; the protagonist slowly learning to let people in and accept help; themes of revenge and redemption; "daddy issues"; and more. The story and setting of Glorified is, of course, much different, and the strong-woman-warrior-bent-on-revenge trope is nothing new (see: Beatrix Kiddo, Furiosa, Ryuko from Kill la Kill, etc.), so while at first I thought, "Oh man, with this excellent show now out in the world, do we still even need Glorified?" I eventually figured that there can be room for both.

- I love how the show came up with a reason behind how the real-life Great Fire of Meireki in 1657 Japan started, which nobody actually really knows (there is a legend about it, but it's probably just as fictional as this show). Doctor Who does this a lot.

- The artwork, animation, and action sequences are absolutely stunning. Wait, I guess that's a review-type comment.

- A few nitpicky things: a couple of episodes contained a confusing edit, like when Mizu started fighting Boss Hamata's men outside of Madame Kaji's brothel, but the the next thing you know, she's inside, shepherding everyone into the cellar. And then there's the trope of the protagonist sustaining severe wounds and either being hobbled by them or healing right back up in practically no time at all, depending on what the plot calls for. Also, in the season finale, why were the soldiers with guns just standing around and not shooting after Mizu broke in? Anyway, I just point out these minor details because I care, and otherwise love this show so much.

- I am so glad that the flashbacks in episode 5 were real and not a dream (as confirmed by a behind-the-scenes video interview with the creators). It just makes Mizu's story that much darker.

- Can't wait for Season 2!

* Not that there's anything wrong with such shows; the non-James Cameron Avatar franchise (The Last Airbender, Legend of Korra) is one of my all-time favorites

Thursday, January 4, 2024

New Year, New Logos!

As we move into 2024 and the production of Hold My Beer kicks into high gear, I and the guys in Second Player Score decided to commission the creation of new logos for our "film production division," aka Second Player Scenes. Check 'em out!
This is the "main" logo, based on our standard SPS logo. See what we did with the filmstrip and reel?
And this is the "alternate" logo, again riffing on the whole camera image thing.

More exciting developments to come soon. Happy New Year! Akemashite Omedetou! Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!